DTI not keen on implementing price freeze amid rising fuel prices, Ukraine crisis

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2022 02:07 PM

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MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is not yet considering implementing price freeze on basic commodities despite the rising cost of fuel amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, an official said on Thursday. 

This, as analysts warned about the effect of these crises to basic goods. 

Trade Assistant Secretary Ann Cabochan said there are mechanisms in the Price Act regarding the matter, among it is the state of emergency declaration. 

"As of this time and sinabi na 'to ni [Trade] Secretary Lopez, na hindi pa natin nakikita yung circumstances that will give rise to a declaration of state of emergency," Cabochan said in a public briefing. 

(As mentioned by Sec. Lopez, we don't see yet any circumstances that will prompt its declaration.)

"Patuloy po natin 'yang mino-monitor kung magkakaroon ng (we are monitoring whether there will be) circumstances that would prompt such declaration kasi yung implementing agency under the price act, marami po kami diyan," she added.

The official noted that only the basic commodity prices are capped during price freezes. This means that the cost of prime commodities are not affected. 

Prime goods, based on the Department of Trade and Industry's website, include flour, canned goods, plywood, medicine not considered essential by the health department, fertilizers, onion and garlic, among others. 

The agency though is studying proposals to update the suggested retain price (SRP) bulletin, which will be coordinated with manufacturers.

"Pinag-aaralan natin, kasi pag nagbibigay tayo ng SRP bulletin na may price adjustment, alam naman natin yung magiging epekto din niyan kasi tataas pa yung presyo kaya we have to study, with the manufacturers na nagbigay," she explained. 

(We are studying it because we know that giving an updated SRP bulletin at this time will have an effect, the prices are still rising. We have to study this with the manufacturers who gave the proposal.)

"Hindi naman lahat ay humihingi din ng increase as of this time, may ilan-ilan po."

(Not all manufacturers asked for a price increase, only some.)

Since the start of the year, diesel prices have increased by P30.65 per liter, gasoline by P20.35 per liter, and kerosene by P21.90, based on data from the Department of Energy and the most recent price increase.